When A Write-In Wins A Contested Election There Is More To The Story

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John Harrington won election as a write-in
John Harrington won election as a write-in

One problem with our overcomplicated and biased election system here in the US is the rare occurrence of a write-in candidate winning a contested seat. It happened on November 5th when John Harrington won the 5th Ward seat on the Findlay Ohio City Council. The news isn’t that a write-in won but about the battle between establishment Republicans and Tea Party Republicans in a civil war for the soul of the party.

Findlay Ohio rarely elected a democrat for any office the exception being maverick John Sausser. He was the Mayor in the late 60’s and early 70s and returned to council in 2001. He was more of what we now call a Blue Dog type of Democrat. He hated most taxes for example. For the most part Findlay and Hancock county is deep red Republican.

Running as a write-in candidate in a contested race usually means the person has no chance. Your name isn’t on the ballot and people have to actually write your name down. It takes a lot more effort to make voters vote for the write-in.

John Harrington, a Republican, ran as a write-in in the 5th Ward against Republican John Bauer, who had beat the incumbent in the May primary. However it was later learned that Bauer was a member of the group Citizens for Findlay which is a Tea Party (ultra conservative) group that was found to be discussing electoral dirty tricks against the establishment Republicans in the city.

Harrington’s filing comes a little more than two weeks after a Courier story revealed Bauer is associated with Citizens for Findlay, a group that strives for anonymity and helped him run his primary campaign against incumbent Republican Bill Schedel. Bauer won the primary.

A public Google message board showed Bauer banded together with fellow council candidates Andy Douglas and Tom Ross to swap ideas and detail their progress. Some of the posts were critical of fellow Republicans and prompted a backlash from party leaders, who were expected to address the trio’s campaign banter and tactics at a meeting Monday night.

Douglas also won his Republican primary race against Jim Niemeyer for next year’s 6th Ward seat.

Council candidate running as write-in

Even though Bauer was the official GOP candidate, establishment GOP members helped Harrington campaign and gather campaign funds which helped him win the election.

With my politics, I would have a hard time living in my hometown today but the more moderate Republicans stopping a Tea Party type from gaining office was a nice change of pace. It always makes me shake my head that people who HATE government of any kind would run for office.


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